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Baby It’s Cold Outside – Hot and Sour Soup

It’s getting cold outside – had to wear a jacket this week for the first time this Fall.  And I notice quite a few people at work have colds, quite a few.  So of course I started to get a cold too, which means a mean stuffed-up head cold.  But wait, there is a sure-fire cure for this besides taking two aspirin and going to bed – it’s called Hot and Sour Soup.   For some reason I don’t think to have this soup during Spring or Summer.

The Usual Suspects: Tofu, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, mushrooms

But once that first dreadful cold comes upon me and my head feels like it has been stuffed with an entire bag of cotton balls and is ready to explode, that is the moment I head to my local Chinese restaurant and ask for Hot and Sour Soup, take-out please.  Even one bowlful can make a difference for me – eat it twice a day for 3 days and I am likely to be cured 50% quicker than just taking aspirin.

Add all ingredients into the pot; bring to boil; then simmer.

Plus there is the added benefit that it tastes darn good!  So thought it best to make my own and even freeze some of it.   And when the 2nd cold comes, I will be prepared. Achoo!


Dried wood ear mushrooms (1 pkg)

1/2 lb fresh shiitake mushrooms

32 oz box of chicken broth

2 Tbl low sodium soy sauce

1 Tbl chili garlic sauce

3 Tbl rice vinegar

1 tsp dark sesame oil

3/4 pound tofu, firm (drained and cubed)

1 can sliced water chestnuts

1 can sliced bamboo shoots

2 Tbl cornstarch

3 green onions


1. Place the wood ear mushrooms in a bowl and pour hot water over them till they are covered – let them stand 15 minutes, and drain them.

2. In large pot add 1Tbl butter.  Slice all the mushrooms (shiitake and wood ear) and add to pot – lightly sauté the mushrooms for a few minutes.

3. Add the broth, soy sauce, chili-garlic sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil – bring to rolling boil.

4.  Add the cubed tofu, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots – reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

5.  Take the cornstarch and add a little water to it till it forms a paste.   Add 2 Tbls of the soup to the paste and then add it back into the soup to help thicken things up.

6.  Slice the green onions on the diagonal, using both the white and green part and sprinkle on top of soup – serve immediately.

Yield:  4 servings


  1. It’s spring here but I am still going to buy the ingredients for this soup later today. And then, because I am the Soup Queen (according to my family) I shall make the soup and surprise them with it.
    Thanks for following my blog. I shall return the favour and subscribe to yours 🙂

  2. thoughtsfromanamericanwoman says

    I am not a fan of the sour part, but this soup looks delicious and has peeked my curiosity, I may have try it.

    • If you don’t like sour you could eliminate the rice vinegar but not sure how much of the punch of this soup will be lost. If you try, let me know your results. Thanks for viewing my site and commenting!

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